Google claims Privacy Sandbox is just as valuable for advertisers - The UpStream

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Google claims Privacy Sandbox is just as valuable for advertisers

posted Sunday Mar 7, 2021 by Scott Ertz

Google claims Privacy Sandbox is just as valuable for advertisers

As Google's deadline to retire third-party tracking cookies approaches, many industries have asked what the future holds. Will Google come up with another way to create a unique tracking ID, or does it have another plan up its sleeve? The company addressed the elephant in the room this week, claiming that its days of tracking individuals are over thanks to Privacy Sandbox.

We continue to get questions about whether Google will join others in the ad tech industry who plan to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers. Today, we're making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.

The replacement technology, called the Privacy Sandbox, takes on the idea of group tracking surrounding interests, as opposed to individuals. The company claims that this new approach improves individual privacy while aligning with the way advertisers think.

advertisers don't need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising. Advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers.

How Does It Work?

While none of the technology actually exists yet, the concept is pretty public. The current model uses cookies to track all activity, and sends that data to a collection of servers, where a profile is created for you based on your activities. Privacy Sandbox does all of the tracking locally within the confines of the browser, where it builds your interest profile. Then, only that interest profile is sent to the servers, theoretically allowing for an equivalent amount of targeting without the need to invade every web user's privacy.

Not Everyone Agrees

While Google is adamant about its plans to not create a new version of a tracking ID and that the new technology is just as useful to advertisers, industry insiders don't have the same opinion. Brian Handrigan, CEO of Advocado, who we met at Collision, told Multichannel News,

The Google announcement is somewhat of a "wolf in sheep's clothing" approach by the largest digital advertising vendor on the planet. Their claim to eliminate individual tracking IDs may seem like a win for privacy advocates, but is actually more of a land grab. Google can build their cohorts because, when a user logs into chrome, they give Google permission to track.

The real losers are competitors to the Google Ad products, advertisers and even consumers. Consumers will receive less targeted ads, and advertisers will have more ad waste.

So, What is the Reality?

The reality of the change likely lies somewhere in the middle. Google is certainly trying to avoid additional governmental battles by reducing the amount of data it collects about everyone. However, the move will probably decrease the fidelity of ad targeting. Of course, consumers are probably going to be okay with the trade-off between privacy and accuracy, but if Google doesn't address the concerns of the advertisers, someone else will find a way to do it and knock Google off its pedestal.

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